Change Lab: Organised by the AHRC’s OWRI Language Acts and Worldmaking, the Change Lab will be held for an invited audience. The Change Lab is a research-led, participatory intervention method developed in Finland and used worldwide to transform diverse organisations. Built upon strong theoretical foundations, it takes a practical approach to addressing complex and often contradictory organisational issues that cannot be solved using mainstream, ready-made forms of intervention.
This Change Lab will involve staff and students connected to the AHRC’s Language Acts and Worldmaking project, engaging in cultural-historical analysis of teaching and learning practices through discussion, whilst co-creating visual models of their past and present systems of educational activity. The aim of Change Lab is to imagine new collective language teaching models for the future.
Where Do We Get Off?
John Norton, Ali Goolyad and Bevin Magama
In the lifts, we are transiting, waiting for the doors to open, uncertain as to who we are travelling with or quite where we will end up. It is a brief moment, but in it these lifts become a metaphor for a psychological state, for the back of a lorry, for another kind of journey. This performance is rooted in Welsh storytelling, East African storytelling, Welsh poetry, Somali poetry, and details of biographical material from our performers or interviews with refugees and asylum seekers living in Wales, in particular concerning their perilous journeys to this island.
Our framing story is The Birth of Taliesin the Bard.
The Birth of Taliesin, one of the oldest stories in Britain, is a riveting tale of deadly pursuit and transformation. As Gwion Bach he is pursued by Ceridwen the witch. He turns himself into a hare to run away from her and she changes into a greyhound; he escapes into a river, turning into a salmon, and she as an otter hunts him there; he changes into a bird and she into a hawk; finally when he becomes a grain of wheat hiding in a barn, she becomes a chicken and pecking through the grain one by one eventually eats him, becomes pregnant of him and gives birth to Taliesin the shining brow nine months later. She wants to kill him but cannot bear to, so she tosses him into the sea in a leather bag. He survives again.
Through cunning and persistence and changing his identity he escapes many times, ending up in a barn, a point of arrival, one of thousands to be processed by a slow and inexorable pecking. He survives even this, but is forced back into a shoddy boat. Again he lives and becomes the legendary poet.
Both our performers survived perilous journeys to reach this island, transforming themselves, adapting to shifting danger. Both now live in Wales. Both are now contemporary bards. One is a storyteller, one is a poet. This is their story.
The performance will be by nature fragmentary, episodic, lost and found, taking place in or around the lifts. Audiences may choose to move on or to listen for longer. It should animate the otherwise un-engaging lift journey and for those not on their way to the 5th floor, provoke a curiosity to discover the rest of the work of the Who Are We? programme.
Places for Connection. A drop-in workshop led by the Empowering Design Practices project (with lead partners the Open University’s Design Group and The Glass-House Community Led Design) that will explore the everyday spaces in our communities, where we feel a sense of welcome, belonging and connection. Help to build a wall of connected representations that will celebrate the social, faith and cultural spaces that connect communities. Create and share your ideas, stories and experiences on the qualities and characteristics of these spaces – real or imagined – and the activities they support.
Afghan Camera Box (Kamra-e-faoree) with Farhad Berahman and b-side Arts, Dorset. A photographic installation commissioned for b-side festival, drawing audiences and participants into gentle conversation around identity, memory, home; alongside thoughts and concerns about displacement, migration and people and place.
Art House Wakefield installation of an evolving ecosystem, with a participatory mural by printmaker, Mohammad Barrangi Fashtani; and the collaborative tailoring of studio holders Hamid Reza Yavari Shoer and Helen O’Sullivan; together with recent studio holders, Wakefield City of Sanctuary; and recent commission, ‘Living Room’, by the artist, Juan delGado.
Are We Data? is an immersive installation produced by AWED, a research team led by Liz McFall and Darren Umney at the Open University, and David Moats (Linkoping University) working collectively with Sapphire Goss and London based software programmer, AV systems designer and musician, Thomas Blackburn. ‘Are We Data?’ questions the relationship between place and place-less ‘big data’ to explore whether digital data can really reveal ‘who we are’.
A Stitch in Time… durational installation combining collective stitching, conversations and film. With artists, Sonia Tuttiett, and makers from East London Textile Arts, filmmaker, Marcia Chandra plus language teachers; and OU researchers Inma Álvarez and Carlos Montoro leading on the AHRC-funded Language Acts and Worldmaking.
Gresham’s Wooden Horse Part 2 a participatory workshop with artist, Isabel Lima, and Isis (Newcastle) focusing on the second stage of a place-based, participatory arts and housing project with residents from the Gresham neighbourhood in Middlesborough (originally commissioned by mima and supported by Counterpoints Arts).
The Consul: A collaborative response by musicians, singers, performers and creative facilitators to the powerful themes of displacement and dispossession at the centre of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s intense 1950 opera, The Consul. As well as sampling and performing music from The Consul, we have created a space, through dialogue and reciprocal teaching and learning, to share lullabies and music from across the globe, including those from members of the public attending Who Are We?
The team includes opera singers: Becca Marriott and Marie-Claire op ten Noort, Iranian composer Shorheh Sakoory, choir-leader Naveen Arles, Musical Director, Andrew Charity and Director, Stephen Tiller from Opera Machine & Kent Opera – working alongside a chorus of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees from Sanctuary Voices.
With more displaced people in the world than ever before, this 1950 opera has never been more relevant as a case for human rights.Limelight Magazine, Oct 2017.
Floor Plans (journeys from there to here) is a collaborative participatory installation focusing on floor plans of homes relating to personal migratory histories, the architecture of memory and the body as a site of memory by artist Natasha Davis, poet & researcher Siobhan Campbell, and researcher Sara de Jong (Open University).
A Guide to the Hostile Environment floor trail mapping the everyday reality of ‘hostile environment’ policies – narrated through the recent Liberty (Civil Liberties and Human Rights) publication.
Filoxenia is a durational poetry relay – realised as a single sentence crossing borders in form, content, effort and space. You are invited to take part in this collective writing action exploring provocations on hospitality, friendship, social imagination, polarisation, border-crossing, poetic agency and love.
Artists and writers: Lisa Alexander with Mary Paterson, Jungmin Song, Saradha Soobrayen.